A tip from a local priest led to the unearthing of a medieval treasure trove in a cornfield located in the village of Słuszków, Poland (near Kalisz). The thousands of artifacts dating back to the 12th century include coins and jewelry that may have possibly belonged to a Ruthenian princess.
Dr. Adam Kędzierski from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences discovered 6,500 silver coins inside of linen pouches, as well as silver ingots, two gold rings, two wedding bands, and pieces of lead that were all put in a pot underneath the ground.
Dariusz Wyczółkowski, who is an archaeologist from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, described the rings, “The rings were probably made using precious stones, polished in a semi-circular way. They are additionally decorated with golden granules. The larger ring is tapered and polygonal, and the smaller one is bar-shaped, with punched holes.”
One of the rings had a Cyrillic inscription that read, “Lord, may you help your servant Maria.” This is why Dr. Kędzierski thinks that it might have belonged to a Ruthenian princess who had that same first name. “We know that at that time the wife of Bolesław the Wrymouth was a Russian princess named Zbysława. According to the literature, she was supposed to have a sister Maria, who was married to Piotr Włostowic,” he explained, adding, “It is commonly acknowledged that Maria was the daughter of Svyatoslavovich Isiaslavovich, Prince of Kiev.”
It has been hypothesized that after her husband Prince Volodar of Przemyśl was abducted, Maria may have gotten the dowry (money or goods that a woman or her parents offer to her new husband) which included the coins and that’s why she hid them. “Her husband's position and possessions could have led her to deposit the treasure, to which a wedding ring was later added,” Dr. Kędzierski stated. “Perhaps the deposit was made in 1145/1146 during her escape from Poland. The hypothesis is unverifiable, but very attractive, because it explains the presence of coins from before the marriage.”
Dr. Kędzierski was in the village to take photographs of a location where the then-largest coin discovery in Poland was made back in 1935. While he was there, he talked to the local priest who informed him about local legends stating that a treasure was hidden somewhere in the village.
He explained what the priest had told him, “According to the official version, the treasure was hidden at the intersection of three plots of land, located in the northern part of the village.” “This news turned out to be false, so this year, attention was focused on the field closer to the road. This place was indicated by Father Stachowiak.” And that’s exactly where the treasure was found.
He went on to say, “A pot filled to the brim with denarii was found. This is an extremely valuable discovery for archaeologists, historians and museum workers.” “It is one of the most intriguing treasures in Poland. The treasure found in the field in Słuszków near Kalisz comes from the turn of the 11th and 12th century.”
Future excavations are being organized. Several pictures of the treasure trove can be seen here.